Traveling with friends seems like a great idea: you love each other, and you can reduce costs by staying in the same room. These were at my forefront of my mind on a recent trip with a dear friend to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Now, I don’t drink, smoke, or gamble, so what I was doing in Las Vegas I could not explain (we did go to see some great show, though!).
- Pack earplugs and an eye mask: Maybe your friend snores (or uses a CPAP machine, as I do), or maybe you’re staying in a cheap motel beside a highway overpass overlooking the “party parking lot.” In Las Vegas, we had a view of the strip, which is constantly lit up. There were black-out curtains but we were both so tired from travelling on the first day that we couldn’t find them or figure out the little pulley system. So, we slept bathed in the light of casinos. An eye mask would have come in handy! Either way, you’ll do well to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. As I learned in Girl Guides, it always pays to be prepared.
- Make sure the places you are visiting make sense for both of you: My friend and I did this by planning obsessively for four months. We created, then modified (over and over) an ambitious itinerary. Of course, we knew we would not see or do everything on our itinerary, so we checked in with each other’s energy levels and made changes on the fly.
- Bring your sense of humour and love for each other: The friend with whom I traveled is a very dear friend – we call each other brother/sister. As happens with humans, our moods weren’t consistently sunshine and puppies. While traveling there are so many decisions to make, and roadblocks (literal and figurative) arise. You have to deal with them, and sometimes you just don’t feel like your best self. When this happened, my friend and I would joke and tease each other. These jokes are woven into the tapestry of the fond memories we created on this trip – and we’ll likely bring them up again on our next trip (Tofino, British Columbia or a Norwegian cruise – we haven’t yet decided).
- Pay attention to each other’s rhythms and need for rest: This point is similar to #3. I am a morning person, and definitely not an evening person. Everything is sunshine and puppies when I wake up. I want to do everything, and I’m ready to conquer the world. My friend’s rhythms must be different but I think he is more diplomatic than I am. So, we joked about how we’d better get back to the hotel by a certain time or else I would turn into a pumpkin. And we actually packed more into our mornings than into the rest of the day. Even though you’re traveling and want to see everything, your body only has so much energy. So even though it’s tempting to eat your face off, take care of your body with plenty of rest, nutrition, and water.
Our trip to Las Vegas and Los Angeles was our first trip together, even though we’ve been friends since 1999. Neither of us can really believe it took us this long to travel together, and we can’t wait to travel together again!